Posted on 28th April 2014 by biocheckuk.
There is growing concern that widespread mislabelling of meats is occurring in the UK. In some cases it is difficult to determine whether deliberate deception has been attempted or adventitious contamination has arisen due to poor hygiene practices; in others the consumer is deliberately being misled. Recent reports by West Yorkshire councils, Leicester City Council and Which? have revealed the potential extent of the risk. West Yorkshire councils reported that a third of the foods they tested were mislabelled, with meat products being the most likely to be adulterated. Leicester Trading Standards found that half of the meat products (e.g. burgers, curries) they checked were mislabelled. In the Which? survey, 60 lamb curries and minced lamb kebabs from takeaways around London and Birmingham were tested and 24 were found to contain other meats such as chicken and beef. On the 17th of this month the Food Standards Agency reported that it would prioritise testing of lamb takeaway dishes across the country due to these surveys and its own findings. Sampling will start at the beginning of May. The mislabelling of food can result in fines of up to £5,000. The question now for the Public Analysts performing the tests is the choice of PCR method to use, those based on detecting nuclear DNA or others that detect mitochondrial DNA. There are a number of PCR techniques available (e.g. RFLP, RAPD); the methods Bio-Check can offer are reagents suitable for performing PCR with the Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer – found in several Public Analyst laboratories – and also on real-time thermocyclers; these methods have a detection limit of 0.1%. But are there any suitable proteomic approaches? ELISA methods can detect adulteration in raw products at a limit of detection of 0.1 to 0.5% depending on the species, whilst in cooked products there are methods capable of detecting at the 1% level and others at 0.1% even in products thermally processed under conditions exceeding 133◦C and 3 bar pressure.
Posted in Speciation